- an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
- treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
- the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
- Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.
- unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc; action based on prejudice
- subtle appreciation in matters of taste
- the ability to see fine distinctions and differences
- electronics the selection of a signal having a particular frequency, amplitude, phase, etc, effected by the elimination of other signals by means of a discriminator
1640s, “the making of distinctions,” from Late Latin discriminationem (nominative discriminatio), noun of action from past participle stem of discriminare (see discriminate). Especially in a prejudicial way, based on race, 1866, American English. Meaning “discernment” is from 1814.
It especially annoys me when racists are accused of ‘discrimination.’ The ability to discriminate is a precious facility; by judging all members of one ‘race’ to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination. [Christopher Hitchens]